“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

Constipation....Nothing to Yawn About!

Everyone knows that yawning is contagious...
but did you know that it is also contagious across species.
If you have a dog, you may well be aware that dogs often yawn after
hearing or seeing their human yawn.
Armed with this knowledge, 
I thought I would give it a try the other morning with one of the horses.


Dr. Becky's horse Sid was out grazing in the pasture next to our horses.


Because Sid was next to the fence and my horses were busy eating, 
I thought I would give it a try with Sid.


"Hey there, Sid.  whatcha up to?"


"Just hanging out watching the other horses, with whisker-cicles on my chin!"

I mustered the biggest yawn I could, right next to Sid.
Low and behold...


Its worked!


A little later it was time for everyone to go back to the barn.
I hiked out and put halters on the ponies...
Donnie....


And Scarlet...


Red and Ollie...


And led everyone back to the barn in two shifts.


Ordinarily, Moonbeam tags along and walks himself back to the barn.


But on this particular morning he wasn't interested in following his herd.


Instead, he made a bee-line back up to the upper pasture to visit a little longer with Sid.
(that is a little, lone apartment building across the street from our upper pastures)


Back up...

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Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!

We may not have any snow here on the farm,
but we have plenty of snowmen.


Luckily, these happy fellows won't melt!


After the snowman project was complete, 
the flour was flying in the farm kitchen this weekend!
It's cookie season!


Several of you have asked for my shortbread cookie recipe and some hints for 
decorating with Royal Icing.


Today's blog post is dedicated to the Art of the Cookie.
Believe me... these look much harder than they are.
If I could teach myself to do this... then you can do this too!

My lifelong philosophy has been:
"If it can be done... I can learn to do it, too!"
Seriously, this philosophy has helped to give me a life not constrained by the fear of failure.
Failure is how we learn.
Today's mistakes are the lessons that get us through tomorrow.
The only thing we have to fear is.... yada yada yada....
See?

I guarantee if you make these cookies, everyone will think you are a rockstar!
They are an all butter shortbread cookie... very delicate, very delicious.
It is important to make them rather thick so that they hold together,
although a coating of Royal Icing will also make them sturdier.

Welcome to my kitchen....
I only wish I could serve you a cup of tea and a cookie while you...

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December!

It seems a little surreal that we have entered into December already.
The holidays are right around the corner and I couldn't be more excited!


It's during this time of year that I am filled with nostalgia...
so many memories of holidays of the past...
and the anticipation of holidays of the future...
all woven together in the sweet, wonderful present.


I must admit...
there has never been a Christmas Eve that I haven't fallen asleep 
listening for the sound of sleigh bells!


Life on the farm has taught me to embrace each and every season for what it brings.
I have learned to love winter time...
its monochromatic backdrop perfect for the quiet meditation
of short days and long evenings.


I am grateful for all of winter's accompaniments...
cold cheeks,
warm socks,
hot chocolate,
naked trees that have been dipped in icy glaze,
the quiet of a grey day,
roaring fires and comfy sofas shared with canine and feline companions,
time enough to start and finish projects...
so much to quietly enjoy!


It might surprise you to know that I love to be outside in the winter.
I truly don't mind the cold...
in fact, I welcome it.
Knowing how to dress properly for the conditions makes all the difference in the world.
I love to...

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A Day of Contrasts

Yesterday was a day of contrasts.


The morning started out brisk...
the thermometer hovering just below freezing.
By afternoon we reached almost 60 degrees...
and the sheep were not enthused.


When you are wearing a sub-zero rated wool overcoat,
it's hard to tolerate 59 degree weather!
And so they spent the afternoon expending as little energy as possible.


The pigs were happy.


That's the thing about pigs... they are pretty much happy no matter what..
as long as plenty of food is involved.


With milder temperatures, abundant green grass remains available...
making the horses quite happy.


They don't seem to mind whether the temperature is 31 or 59...
food consumes their every thought!


As for these two loves... the warmer, the better.
Oh, how they have stolen my heart!

We took a gator ride over to the hundred acre wood to look for signs of hunters.


A good sign was the fact that all of our game cameras were still intact.
(We lost one last hunting season... a hunter had sliced through the strap with his hunting knife
and absconded with the [evidence] camera... the nerve.)


The woods were eerily silent.
No bird songs.
No wind in the trees.  No rustle of leaves.
Silent.

Contrast that silence with this... 
our...

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Heading Towards December...

Can you believe how quickly we are heading into December?
It seems like just yesterday I was planting seeds and weeding garden boxes.
Now the boxes are asleep beneath a layer of compost...
patiently awaiting a spring rebirth.
Days are getting shorter and shorter.

It's unseasonably warm here this week, with afternoon temps in the 50's.
If this continues there will be no hope for a white Christmas.
I will keep my fingers crossed, however!


Who would think after his cruciate ligament tear a few months back,
that Sammie would end up being the healthiest dog on the farm?


Sadly, Annie and Oakley are having health issues and are presently both on 
house arrest.

Annie has a painful growth on her front left elbow.
We are treating her with anti-inflammatories and antibiotics...
to no avail.
She has an appointment for an x-ray on Friday.


Oakley gave us a scare on Sunday.
He lost control in his back legs and was unable to walk.
After a few doses of prednisone he is once again walking.
Prednisone has its side effects and we are trying to decrease his dosage,
but I fear he will remain on this medication for the rest of his life.
Oakley has lymphoma (we've known this for months) that has
most likely metastasized to...

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Party Animals

Thank you so very much for your concern and suggestions regarding
dear Chloe and Daphne's fence chewing.


I must allay your fears...they are definitely not cribbing.


Chewing is sometimes confused with cribbing, however they are two different things.
When a horse cribs, they lock their teeth onto a fence or stall wall and draw air
into the back of their pharynx.
Rarely do they eat the wood, but rather use it as a means to hold fast 
while they arch their necks and suck air.
They have found through fluoroscopic studies,
 that the equine does not actually fill their belly with air, as was once thought...
but rather just fills the back of their pharynx and then exhales it again.
Apparently this causes an endorphin release.
So, in essence, it is a bad habit that is actually a way that horses self-soothe...
and one that is very hard to stop...as there is so much positive reinforcement from the endorphins.


What these girls are doing...
is just plain old eating my fence.


Donkeys eat wood to get more fiber into their diets.
It's important to remember that donkeys come from arid parts of the world with poor vegetation...
so, tough, woody growth is natural to them.

So, while I don't appreciate having to...

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Donkey Update

I am happy and relieved to report that Chloe is back to her old self...
completely!


Last week's treatment 
(tube through the nose into the stomach to give mineral oil)
put all systems back in check.
No blockages.
No belly ache.

So, once again we are tweaking the donkeys' diet.

They remain on grass (by way of a grazing muzzle)...
out to graze each morning...


and hay...
by way of these new slow feeders.


We simply put a flake of hay into the feeder and drop the insert on top of the hay...
leaving only what you can see through the holes exposed for nibbling.
This slows down their consumption and makes them work for their dinner.


I had to order two because chubby Daphne would chase Chloe away if there were only one.


So, if one of them becomes possessive of a feeder, there is always another one to visit.


By the time they have finished a portion, the feeders are moved across the dry lot.
These feeders are extremely sturdy.
I would bet they will last my lifetime.
I like them much better than a hay bag, because the donkeys get to eat 
in the same position they graze in... nose to the ground.

We are still left with the problem of them eating their fence, however.
If anyone has any suggestions... I would...

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Weekend Surprises

There is nothing better than a cold winter walk in the woods.
Fresh, clean air fills your lungs making you feel immediately healthier.


I love the woods in winter... the stark stillness.
There is no canopy to block the sun, 
but rather the skeletal branches of trees that have already shed their 
dry crunchy leaves.
Those same leaves make every footstep crackle, giving all of the forest
residents a warning of our approach.

Invariably a trip to the woods will yield sightings of deer
or turkeys.


Saturday's hike provided us with a special surprise.
What was that?
There in the distance, about a hundred yards in front of us...
(my camera had a hard time focusing on her.... I only had my small camera with me)


A Jersey cow... a most unexpected woodsy visitor.
She spooked when she saw us and headed into the woods.

We checked the game cameras and sure enough...



there she was... passing by the tent.


Once home, I got on the computer and messaged all of our neighbors with cows.
No one claimed her.

We made a visit to all of the dairy farms in the area.
No one was missing a Jersey cow.

Later in the weekend, we went back to the woods with halter in hand...
searching for the lonesome wanderer.
It's been very cold this...

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A New Face Sports The Orange Collar

There is a new face on the farm...
and he's traded in his fancy collar for a fluorescent orange color
to match the rest of the pack.


It's Chester, the huge-eared wonder dog.
Yes, Chester has landed here on the farm and it will be his forever home.


You might remember that Chester was Tyler and his Mommy's new puppy 
at the end of the summer.


Why is he now living on the farm?
It's hard to keep an active breed of dog in an apartment...
especially when everyone is gone all day long...
and a nasty neighbor threatened bodily harm.


And so, dear Chester, an adolescent now, will spend the rest of his days here on the farm.
I have to admit... he's struck it rich.
Farm life is a great life for dogs.


Chester has already proven himself to be farm-worthy.
He is respectful of the animals.
He follows the rest of the pack as though they have always been his very own pack...
and has designated himself to be Hubbs' shadow.


He is a smart little fellow
who will have the benefit of wise old teachers... especially Oakley!


And Annie couldn't be happier.
Finally there is someone for her to play with that has her energy level.

Chester is officially a puppy in training.
He is going to be a wonderful farm dog in no time.


He's...

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Off-The-Farm-Smiles

Family matters took me away from the farm yesterday.
I drove my Mom to visit her older sister in a nursing home,
in her home town.

An old estate lies on the fringe of town.
I noticed it along the way and decided to stop for a few photos of its residents...
most of whom were busy scratching itches!


To me there is nothing cuter than an alpaca.


Such big eyes!


And that cute little smiley mouth.
To me, they are the French poodle of the camelids.


There is a part of me that would love to have a few alpacas.
The thing is... I think we have enough animals at present.


It's very easy to become an animal hoarder...
which doesn't end up well for the animals or the hoarder.


And so... in this case I will have to enjoy these delightful animals
 on someone else's farm.
Just stopping for a visit made me very happy!

This same estate has this creche in front of their mansion house...
life-sized!


I thought it quite remarkable.
Meanwhile, back at home... the living room tree is up and decorated.


Most of the ornaments were made here on the farm...
wooden bears and stags heads on our north woods inspired tree.


The mantle...


The weather has finally turned colder and I am in heaven!
Time to get a fire roaring in that...

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Graduates With Honors

With this many animals on the farm, 
we have learned to be flexible...
especially with our expectations.


You can make all the plans in the world...
think them through...
carefully mull them over...
and when presented to animals...
well...
they can come back to you looking totally different!


After raising several broods of guineas, we finally have a flock
that meets our expectations.
They are the first flock to graduate from Birdbrain U. with honors.


I am happy to say that these 20 young guineas and their two elders 
(left from a previous batch)
are completely trained.
They know where they live and they return there every afternoon as the sun sets in the west.


Their days are spent doing what guineas do...
searching for ticks and insects and doing their best to annoy
all of the neighbors.


Luckily, we have neighbors who love guinea fowl and who think ours are fun.
It's a win-win situation, because those guineas will comb through our grass and our
neighbors' as well...so we all benefit from their hunting forays.

We were socked in with rain all day yesterday.
We made it through morning chores before the rain began and had about an hour's extra time...
so I used that hour to finish tucking in my garden for...

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Three and a Big Surprise

Lily loves our mail lady.
Probably because every time she comes up the hill, she has a package for Lily.

This time it was from one of my dearest friends in another state.....


There were two sweet cards inside~ one for Lily, and another one for... Lily's Birthday!!


Yes, you heard me~ its all yours.



The box was pre-inspected.


Each gift and the adorable wrapping paper were also pre-inspected. *Sigh*


Apparently this one met approval even before it was unwrapped. :)


Treats....


 Treats.....


Treats!!! *YUMMY*



I told her to smile for the camera, Angie~ this is what I got. 

And that smile says "Thank you."  





So, how did she spend her 3rd Birthday?





Uh, lets just say it was.... uneventful.  ;)







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Friday Farm Fotos: Bad Girl

It was getting dark and someone was missing; one large red hen with a pair of big yellow feet and an attitude to match. I looked up and down and in every nook and cranny with my flashlight there was no sign of her. The only clue was a red tail feather I found in the grass near the barn, and that is never a good sign. Most of the time if there has been a predator attack there is more than one feather on the ground, so that made me think she could still be out there somewhere, but as darkness fell and my batteries started getting weak, hope of finding her alive faded with my flashlight. 

I was sad.... I never like to lose any of my birds.....


Morning came. It was unusually foggy.... I didn't think it would ever get daylight. I had just poured a cup of coffee and was staring out the kitchen window, when....



I saw her.


Meandering across the back yard, looking over her shoulder as if she was hoping nobody would see her sneaking back to the chicken coop before dawn. My heart was happy!
But then, I chuckled...
At the thought that her hiney was safe but her reputation was ruined.... :)

Happy Friday!


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No More Quiet Mornings

There's nothing better than a grey autumn day.
For some reason, my favorite day this time of year is one with lots of clouds.
A dramatic sky moved in yesterday afternoon...
the wind kicked up and a stray shower moved through.


To me, it felt like autumn... perfect, peaceful autumn!

I spent the day doing miscellaneous projects.
I worked in the garden... cleaning up the past season's remains,
getting ready to tuck my garden boxes in under a blanket of compost.


You might notice the straw on the box in the forefront of this photo.
We covered the strawberries with straw a couple of weeks ago.
After a couple frosts, the plants go into dormancy.
Once this happens, it is time to cover them with a blanket of straw.
It is necessary to cover strawberries before the temperatures dip down to 20,
to avoid damage to tender young shoots.

Once spring has arrived, I will clean the straw from the top of the plants 
and use it as mulch to cover the soil around the plants.
Having straw on the ground helps to keep the berries from rotting on the moist ground.
Hence....straw-berries!

A few years ago I found this old kerosene heater in an antique store.
It was blue... not a color that works well in my house.


It took up...

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Floating Away

Yesterday was a busy day for all of the equines.
Dr. Becky came to float teeth.

Equine teeth continue to grow throughout their lives.
They keep them ground down by the process of chewing...
at least the chewing surfaces get ground down.


As a result, hooks tend to form on the edges of the teeth where chewing does not occur.


These hooks can be sharp and cause discomfort, and even tears, in the 
inside of the cheeks.


Every couple of years Dr. Becky comes to "float" the teeth.


You may wonder why the name "float" the teeth.
It is a British term meaning to file the teeth.
A float is a file.

Sedation is used to make the horse relax.


The mouth is irrigated with a large syringe and water to remove
and food particles,
and an oral speculum is placed inside the mouth and ratcheted open to visualize
the inside of the mouth.


Then the teeth are inspected and felt for sharp prominences.


Those hooks, and sharp points are filed down until the tooth is smooth.


It's a fairly simple procedure but requires a bit of strength and endurance.


Two hours later we had 7 sleepy equines with lovely smiles!
Everyone was well behaved and tolerated the procedure quite well.

After the teeth are finished, she heads to the other end of...

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For The Love Of Pigs

I left the farm yesterday for a dentist appointment.
While driving down the highway to town I passed a tractor trailer.
It was a familiar sight on that particular stretch of road...
a trailer with ventilation holes and a ramp safely stowed on the back door.
I knew it carried some poor farm animals on their way to no place good.


Usually when I see one of these trucks on the highway, I avert my eyes...
 (the same way I do when I see a deer that was killed on the highway)...
willing away it's very existence.

For some reason, yesterday, I couldn't ignore the truck and cast a sideways glance.
It was filled with pigs.
My heart sank and I was immediately filled with sadness.


Now, I cannot pretend that I don't like bacon... or that I don't eat meat.
I do.
I have chosen a mental disconnect between the animals that I love and the meat that I eat...
but it's not without a degree of remorse and guilt.


Years ago I made the conscious decision to reject grocery store meat...
and I haven't looked back.
Now, this decision comes at a cost... and it's one that affects the pocket book.
To me, though, it is worth the extra money to buy only meat
humanely raised on pasture from farmers within a several mile radius of...

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Equine Rockstars

There are afternoons, once in a while,
in which the chores are done with time to spare.
In this heading-into-dormancy time of year, 
I find myself with a little extra time on my hands.
Yesterday was one of those days, so Hubbs and I took advantage of the extra time
to groom our herd.


With the recent rains and soggy ground,
everyone was looking a little grungy.
Hooves were mud-covered and bridle paths were looking 
like overgrown gardens.


One by one, Hubbs and I curried and brushed and clipped and picked hooves...
until each and every one of our horses and ponies looked handsome
and well-loved.


They are well-loved, of course... but at times they look like wretched street urchins.

Donnie Brasco, the sweetest, gentlest (and fastest) pony ever.
I am sure that everyone who owns equines
feel that their horse is the most handsome in the world.
I certainly do.
And... this one... well, he might just possibly actually be the most handsome of all...
his lovely blue eyes making him look like a carousel horse.


And, oh, so photogenic!
(You might notice how close to his hind end Sam has chosen to lie.
Our horses and dogs co-exist perfectly.


Red definitely knows that he is all gussied up...
and works it for the...

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A Day in the Life

The sun rises...
and the day begins.


Everyone is in his/her own place...
grazing or not...


Mid morning, I receive this photo in a text from the neighbors.
Apparently the guineas have found their swing.
We are so lucky that our neighbors do not mind visits from our guineas...
as it is hard to keep this troupe at home.


Later in the day, they are doing their thing in another neighbor's field.


They spend their day patrolling the neighborhood.
By late afternoon, they wander back to their own yard
and by sunset are safely tucked back into their house.


I'm not sure what was happening in the food container...
who knows what goes on in a guinea mind!


The day ends much like it started...
with a fiery sky.

I started seasonal decorating yesterday...
from this...


to this...


I found galvanized letters at a craft store on sale for $2...


 and added puffy paint and sparkles for a wintery effect.


It's just the beginning... more to come!

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A Perfect Thanksgiving

A family Thanksgiving celebration always fills my heart...
with enough love and gratitude to last forever.


This year's Thanksgiving was one that will take its place in our memories with so many others...
in a warm, sweet spot in our hearts!


After what seemed like days and days of cooking and baking and preparation,


we set the dinner table with a scrumptious traditional feast.

 

Two smoked chickens took the place of our traditional turkey this year...
though, certainly not planned or on purpose...
as the turkey had a very unfortunate mis-hap whilst cooking away in the smoker.

Smoked chicken was plan B, and not a bad plan at all...
for chicken has a way of retaining its delicious moisture so much better than turkey...
and if it is smoked... almost difficult to tell the difference in taste!


The table was set with the perfect centerpiece!


We ate and played and visited... four generations all together.
Ryan (Amanda's twin brother) was home from North Carolina...
and never without his guitar, which fascinated the little ones...


Holidays were always fun... but with little ones in the house... holidays
are magical!


Saturday we headed into the country north of us in search of the perfect 
Christmas tree.


We...

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Gratitude

From all of us...
to all of you...
Happy Thanksgiving!


We have much to be grateful for...
family and friends, 
this beautiful world that we get to share with our critters,
and your friendship...
shown through support and offerings of kind words throughout the year.

By the way...this gnarly growth on Tom's wattle has fallen off...
he's grateful for that!
Today is a good reminder of all that we have to be grateful for.
May we carry that gratitude with us each and every day...
for, a life lived in gratitude is a happy life.


PS...
Tom and Fred and Ethel are grateful as well...
that they will not ever be ending up on somebody's Thanksgiving table!
Amen.

We will be back on Monday to share our holiday happenings with you.



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Prep Work

This week has been a flurry of pre-Thanksgiving activity!
I have been cooking and prepping and baking in preparation for our family
celebration on Friday.
I am so lucky to have Hubbs around to help out with animal chores.


He spent his morning tending to everyone's needs 
while I did the pre-Thanksgiving grocery shopping and a little babysitting
for these two cuties...


They are growing up way too fast!

Upon my return to the farm, I found the pigs out in the pasture...


basking in the sunshine....


while the sheep were happily napping in the shade.


In the afternoon, we took a drive through the countryside in search of a new
Christmas tree farm. (Our favorite local farm closed after last Christmas.)
We found a lovely farm north of us...
not far from our favorite Rusty Rail Brewing Co.
(We may have stopped for a little refreshment as well.)


We will return there this weekend to cut down our tree...
and the decorating will begin!

In our travels we passed on of my favorite little country cottages...
someone's idyllic get-away.
What an adorable place to relax!


 Hubbs and I spent the evening making the necessary parts for 
gingerbread houses...  


which the girls and grands of our family will be assembling and...

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The Search For a Better Way

It has been a joy and a privilege to share our lives with the animals on our farm.
They teach us not only about themselves,
but also about us... on a daily basis.


We strive to provide a good life for our two and four legged friends...
in meeting not only their physical needs, but their emotional needs as well.

We have received as much in return as we have given.

We could spend less time managing our animals lives,
and they would do just fine...
but just fine never seems good enough to me, and so we strive to make their lives great...
which definitely ties us down to a rather rigid schedule...
but, to us... it is a fair exchange.

We cannot fix all that is wrong with the world and its inhabitants,
but we can strive to make our little corner of the world a peaceful,
safe, and comfortable place for our critters.

You might be aware that we have been trying to help our donkeys shed a little weight.
Soaking their hay, and limiting their grazing through the use of a grazing muzzle
has definitely helped... but not enough to suit me.
And on top of that, the donkeys have been eating their fence...
a sure sign that they need more tough fiber in their diet.


After doing a little research, we found a suggestion...

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Quiet Moments

We arose to this fiery sunrise Saturday morning...
the harbinger of a predicted day of miserableness to follow.


The fiery embers cast a glow of pink


 in a 360 degree circle on the horizon.


With a 2 hour window before the predicted winds and rain,
we took the dogs for a woodsy hike and grabbed the camera cards from our 
game cameras.


Deer, raccoons and foxes had made an appearance over the past week... no bears.
Perhaps they have already hunkered down for their long winter's nap!

We decided that with no scheduled plans for the weekend,
we would do no work but the required animal chores.

Let me tell you... it was heavenly!


I worked on this knitting project in front of the fire...


surrounded by my friends and constant companions.


(You'll notice that every available seat, besides my own, was taken up by a dog!)


Right now we have an extra friend... black Sammy is here for a few days.
He's a regular visitor and quite happy to be here on the farm.
He follows me around like a shadow!


I did a little Thanksgiving baking... decorated shortbread cookies.
I can hardly wait to do the same for Christmas... lots of ideas are percolating!


Sunday was more of the same...


everyone hunkering down in the warmth to keep...

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A Dream Come True


Time sure flies... it's hard for me to believe that we've been living in our home for 8 years now.
All this time I have longed for my very own sewing/craft room. I'm certainly not complaining, because most of the time I've been fortunate to have a room with my sewing machine set up and ready to sew, but the spare bedroom it was in has always been shared with lots of other stuff- a kind of "catch-all" room; things that we didn't have space in the closet for and didn't want to throw away found their way into this room, at one point even a huge treadmill and stereo with CD collection were crammed in there as well.


A couple of months ago Hubby told me he would build some wall cabinets for me and help me paint, and my new sewing room would be ready just in time for my birthday. (Yep, I think I'll keep him. *swoon*)
So, after some planning and several trips to the local Goodwill with old clothes and what-nots, the room was cleaned out. The walls were painted and the cabinets started going up....


And now my dream has come true.
Here are the before and after pictures~



The "before" was a mess of this and that with no place to put anything, 
but now I have a place for my computer and large work...

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Friday Farm Fotos: Fog Ice


It's 8:00 a.m. and 20 degrees~ and a thick fog rolls in.




 Strange icy formations start to appear.
























Ice forms on everything.... even the fence.







The coating looks almost fuzzy.







Lily is unimpressed with the fuzzy fence.
She has done her business (which probably has ice on it, too) and now she is ready to go back inside.








Edie, who loves the cold weather, thinks foggy fence ice is delicious.








Daisy thinks it is delightful! :)



Happy Friday!!!

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Autumn Scenes and Other Things



December.
I have to say it out loud and let it soak in for a minute before I can grasp that it is already December.
*Sigh*



It begins the season of no pasture for the sheep, with the exception of a green sprig here and there.





And the start of unexpected winter weather, like this snow the week of Thanksgiving.




Fall was pretty this year... Lily took time to pose in front of some leaves for me.



This time of year there aren't many outdoor chores to do, 
so I keep busy indoors where it's warm.
Mostly sewing..... 

I made a few things on my embroidery machine for our little nieces, who are 5 and 2~
a couple of trick or treat bags for Halloween:


And some Thanksgiving shirts, too.




We took our yearly trip to the apple orchard for my birthday in October....




Also for my birthday~ I finally got the sewing studio of my dreams; complete with robin-egg blue paint on the walls and brand new cabinets made by Hubby. *squeal*


I'll save the pictures and details for next time. ;)



Oh, and I went to market and bought a piggy.... 


Happy Tuesday!

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Happy Thanksgiving....


Hubby and I and the critters are still alive and kicking and all is well.
And thanks to those of you who have checked in on me.
After an unexpected blog break, I will be back next week with some updates. I promise.
Until then.... have a blessed Thanksgiving.

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A long time coming....

So much time has gone by.... where do I start? If anyone is still out there, I'll just say for the record that although I've been away from my blog for what seems like forever... I never forgot about it- or all my blog friends either.
I'll try to give an update on what's been going on around the Fraker Farm for the past year... I almost always talked to my dad several times a week, and in February of 2016 I had tried to call my dad for a couple of days but he never answered his phone. It was not unusual for him to not to answer on the first few tries because sometimes he just didn't hear the phone ring or he was outside when I called, but he always called me back after seeing my number on his caller ID. When he didn't return my calls, I started to worry. I drove to his house to check on him the next morning (I live almost an hour away) and found him on the floor. He had been there for at least 24-36 hours, judging by the condition of his clothes. He was alive, but very disoriented and dehydrated. It was terribly sad to see him in that condition....
After a week in the hospital and another two weeks at Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center in Knoxville, my husband and I brought him...

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January, February....


Time has a way of getting by without realizing.....
I haven't written anything on here since the first of January, and now I'm wondering now where the last seven weeks have flown to. *Sigh*


Everyone around here is okay, including the critters; but the weather sure has been keeping us on our toes lately. 
For instance, this was what it looked like here last Thursday~


And yesterday? It was 74 degrees and thunderstorms. 

Warm enough that even the bees came out of their winter slumber 
and were venturing away from the hive, looking for water.





A few weeks ago everything was covered over with ice as the temperatures stayed in single digits and teens here for several days.... here I am trying to thaw the sheep's water out with a torch.


The sheep did not like my torch and ran out immediately. 
(No doubt fearing I would blow up the barn...)



The chickens got to stay inside for a few nights in the Holiday Hen (laundry room) 
when the temperatures were near zero.
As you can see, Lily is checking on them to see if the accommodations were to their liking. 
(She did this every few minutes until I finally had to close the door.)




The weather has been a great excuse for spending lots of time in my new sewing...

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